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Agrarian Rebel 1938 Biography of Tom Watson

Author: C. Vann Woodward
Subject: Tom Watson; Agrarian Rebel; Leo Frank; Mary Phagan;
Collection: folkscanomy_crime


Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel (1938) by C. Vann Woodward, the unflattering classic biography of Tom Watson, an attorney and populist politician from Georgia. Concerning the Leo Frank Case, Historian C. Vann Woodward wrote, the trial evidence was “overwhelmingly more incriminating [of Conley] than any produced against Frank.” Tom Watson is most often cited as instigating the lynching of Leo Max Frank, a Jewish factory superintendent who was convicted for beating, raping and strangling one of his 13-year old employees named Mary Phagan.

Watson used his Jeffersonian Newspaper (1914 to 1917), and his Watson's Magazine (January, March, August, September and October, 1915) to rally Southerners against Leo Frank and his powerful legal team trying to have his murder conviction overturned on appeal. Watson accused Jewish money, Jewish media control, and Jewish power of trying to meddle in Georgia's judicial system and defame Southerners in an anti-Semitic conspiracy against Leo Frank.

Tom Watson became a U.S. senator in 1920 and died two years later.

More books and reading on the subject of the Leo Frank Case include:

0. The [Leo] Frank Case, Inside Story of Georgia's Greatest Murder Mystery 1913 - The first neutral book written on the Leo Frank case.

1. The Murder of Little Mary Phagan by Mary Phagan Kean (1989) (Available here on Written by Mary Phagan Kean (b. 1953), the grand niece of battery, rape and strangulation victim Mary Anne Phagan (June 1, 1899 - April 26, 1913). The definitive book on the murder of Mary Phagan, providing a neutral account of the events leading up to the trial of Leo Frank and aftermath.

2. American State Trials, volume X (1918) by John Lawson (Available here on A legal review tending to be biased in favor of Leo Frank and his legal defense team. This treatment provides an abridged version of the brief of evidence (1913), leaving out some of the important things said at the trial when it republishes parts of the trial testimony. Be sure to read the closing arguments of Luther Zeigler Rosser, Reuben Rose Arnold, Frank Arthur Hooper (required reading) and Hugh Manson Dorsey (required reading). For a more complete version of the Leo M. Frank trial testimony, read the official 1913 Leo Frank murder trial brief of evidence and you can see what was left out.

3. Argument of Hugh M. Dorsey in the Trial of Leo Frank (Available here on and Some but not all of the 9 hours of arguments given to the Jury at the end of the Leo Frank trial on August 22, 23, and 25. Only 18 libraries in the world have original copies of this books. It can be found here on The Internet Archive. This excellent book is required reading to see how the prosecutor Hugh Dorsey in sales vernacular 'closed' a Jury of 12 men and Judge Leonard Strickland Roan.

4. Leo M. Frank, Plaintiff in Error, vs. State of Georgia, Defendant in Error. In Error from Fulton Superior Court at the July Term 1913, Brief of Evidence. Extremely rare, only 1 original and 2 copies exists, secure in the vault of the Georgia State Archive. For the first time in 100 years it is available online.

5., 6., 7., Three major Atlanta Georgia dailies that covered the day to day events of the Leo Frank trial: Atlanta Constitution, Atlanta Journal, and Atlanta Georgian, from April 28th to August 27th 1913.

8. Tom Watson's weekly Jeffersonian newspaper and monthly Watson's Magazine:

Watson's Magazine, January 1915, Watson's Magazine, March 1915; Watson's Magazine, August 1915, Watson's Magazine, September 1915, and Watson's Magazine, October of 1915. (Available here on

Tom Watson's best treatments of the Leo Frank case were published in August, September and October of 1915. Watson's five magazine published treatments written about the Leo Frank case taken collectively provide superb logical arguments and reasoning explaining how the jury arrived at the guilt of Leo M. Frank.

These five works are absolutely required reading for anyone interested in the Leo M. Frank Case. Tom Watson's magazine publications surged from 30,000 to 100,000 copies, when word had gotten out he was be writing on the Leo Frank case. Physical copies of these magazines are extremely rare and very difficult to find, but fortunately they are available online.

1. The Leo Frank Case By Tom Watson (January 1915) Watson's Magazine Volume 20 No. 3. See page 139 for the Leo Frank Case. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga., Digital Source

2. The Full Review of the Leo Frank Case By Tom Watson (March 1915) Volume 20. No. 5. See page 235 for 'A Full Review of the Leo Frank Case'. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga., Digital Source

3. The Celebrated Case of The State of Georgia vs. Leo Frank By Tom Watson (August 1915) Volumne 21, No 4. See page 182 for 'The Celebrated Case of the State of Georgia vs. Leo Frank". Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga., Digital Source

4. The Official Record in the Case of Leo Frank, Jew Pervert By Tom Watson (September 1915) Volume 21. No. 5. See page 251 for 'The Official Record in the Case of Leo Frank, Jew Pervert'. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga., Digital Source

5. The Rich Jews Indict a State! The Whole South Traduced in the Matter of Leo Frank By Tom Watson (October 1915) Volume 21. No. 6. See page 301. Jeffersonian Publishing Company, Thomson, Ga., Digital Source

Tom Watson's Weekly Jeffersonian Newspaper

9. The Tom E. Watson Digital Papers Archive, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

Tom W. Brown

10. Notes on the Case of Leo M. Frank, By Tom W. Brown, Emery University, Atlanta, Georgia, 1982.

Leo Frank Archive

11. The Leo Frank Archive:

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Average Rating: 2.00 out of 5 stars2.00 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: manhattansunrise - 2.00 out of 5 stars2.00 out of 5 stars - October 14, 2012
Subject: Biased Against Tom Watson
This is an anti-Tom Watson tome that uses questionable and unreliable sources to smear and defame Tom Watson.

Selected metadata

Identifier: AgrarianRebel1938BiographyOfTomWatson
Mediatype: texts
Identifier-ark: ark:/13960/t5k94012g
Ppi: 600
Ocr: ABBYY FineReader 8.0

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